Hiring stylists for the first time is going to be both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially if you're in the process of opening your dream salon. You'll likely make mistakes, and finding the process that works best for you and the salon will take time. But there are certainly some major snafus you can avoid from the beginning.
1. Not knowing what you want
Saying you want a stylist isn't enough. First, consider what you want your team to look like once you're finished building it. Refer to your mission statement and vision. Who are the types of people you want working for you? (Reminder: It shouldn't just be about skill, but the personality as well.) A salon's image is really about its staff at the end of the day.
Once you know what you want that team to look like, work on writing a detailed yet exciting and alluring job description. If you put out a vague listing, people aren't going to know what you're like or what you want. Make sure it covers basic expectations, hours, and any special perks you might offer employees. In addition, give information about the type of work environment you have, or are seeking to create.
2. Not advertising the opening enough
Be sure to utilize your website and social media channels in addition to making a game plan of everywhere you want to post listings that you can follow when you need new talent. This plan should include cosmetology programs, websites like Craigslist and Monster Jobs, local job boards, local publications, and industry job boards. You don't have to hit every single one, but make sure you're covering several bases.
3. Not being picky
When you're just opening your salon, it can be exciting to get those initial applicants. You might also fall into the trap of thinking no one else will ever find you or be interested in applying. Remember that you're building a vision and not everyone is going to be right for it. As much as it's unpleasant to tell someone no, it's much more unpleasant to fill your salon with the wrong stylists and have to fix the errors at a later time.
In addition, always be picky and thorough when it comes to their background and recommendations. If you're in too big of a hurry to hire and don't check out important key credentials or recommendations, you might find your salon a lot of trouble later.
4. Being too picky
On the other hand, just as in dating, there might not be the perfect person who fits 100% of want you're looking to find. Separate must-haves from wishes early on to determine whether or not someone is a potential fit.
5. Not trusting your gut
If someone looks great on paper and has a decent interview, but there's just something not quite right - it's okay. Trust your instincts! When you don't, you run the risk of still not being comfortable with that person when they're a full-fledged employee, making it hard to have a positive relationship.
6. Avoiding young stylists
Young stylists are enthusiastic to get started, eager to learn, and have very few habits that they won't be unwilling to change. Older stylists certainly bring experience - and having a mix is great - but depending on where they've been, it might be hard to break them of the ways of their former salon.
Beginning salon owners make this mistake often, believing that high pay or high commission rates are the way to lure in talent. They can, but they can also be incredibly hard to maintain. Remember that you need to be able to pay that rate throughout the year, so take a long hard look at what you're offering and make sure it's something you can truly afford.
8. Not using trial runs
The best way to truly know if a stylist is great is to see them in action. Make sure the interview process includes a demonstration on a model or staff member to see whether or not they really possess the technique they claim, or can use that Wella Curl Craft Wax Mousse to its full potential. Those that pass that test and that you're interested in hiring should be given a short trial period of a few weeks to make sure they're going to work out. If they do, then you have a great new team member. If not, move on.